Not long into their term, council members with the District of Lantzville have decided to give themselves a significant pay raise.
Lantzville councillors voted unanimously during a council meeting Monday night to adopt a remuneration bylaw, which effectively increases their annual salaries by 45 per cent starting next year.
As a result, councillors, who currently receive $9,194 annually, will earn $13,350 a year starting in January. Meanwhile, Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, who is currently earning $14,594 annually, will see his in salary increase by 32 per cent to $19,300 beginning Jan. 1.
Coun. Will Geselbracht said Lantzville councillors have not had a pay raise since 2012 and don’t receive any cost of living increases. He said given the amount of work councillors are required to do, combined with the fact that Lantzville’s council has reduced by two members from last term, a raise was warranted.
“I would suggest that with our reduced council size, that it would also be appropriate for the additional duties that we are taking on and two less members to also consider an increase in compensation,” he said.
According to a staff report, Lantzville councillors are some of the lowest paid in the province. The report, which compared 25 municipalities with populations ranging from 1,900 to 4,900, showed that the average pay for councillors is $11,888 and $23,3000 for mayors.
Only councillors in four municipalities, the City of Rossland, District of Clearwater, District of Elkford and the Village of Cumberland, were paid less than councillors in Lantzville according to the staff report, which also showed that Lantzville’s mayor was the lowest paid among the 25 municipalities.
The Town of Lake Cowichan pays councillors an annual salary of $12,734 while the mayor receives $21,224 annually, according to the report. The smallest community on the list in terms of population, the District of Ucluelet, pays councillors $14,185 annually, while the mayor receives an annual salary of $24,818. Meanwhile, the Town of Gibsons, which was the most populous municipality on the list, pays its councillors $14,883 annually and its mayor $27,906 annually.
Geselbracht told councillors the data included in the staff report should come as no surprise.
“The results … are not surprising, that councillors in those jurisdictions made, I’ll say, considerably higher, as well as the mayor, in those municipalities,” he said.
Coun. Ian Savage told councillors he supported the decision to increase councillors’ pay, adding that council could have given themselves a bigger raise, but elected to go with a more modest option.
“I think we took a humble approach in that some of our options were higher than this and we are in keeping with other jurisdictions and I think that’s important to do to keep pace,” he said.
The additional increase will mean a 0.82 increase to Lantzville’s 2019 budget and would be funded from surplus.
Coun. Jamie Wilson was absent from Monday’s meeting.
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